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I had fully anticipated a splendid piece on the Chicago Cubs for this week. Having the utmost confidence in my favorite baseball team’s ability to provide material for this piece, I had no back-up plan.

Unfortunately, the New York Mets put some unexpected caramel on the Big Apple and will head to the World Series instead. The 2015 Cubs effort, in this playoff round, joins a long list of legendary losses of Cubs teams that piqued our interest in the summer then dashed our hopes in October.

Unlike previous Cubs collapses, this one seems different. Yeah they lost in the championship round of the National League, the NLCS, but nobody expected them to even be there at the beginning of the season. Yet, they won 101 games in 2015 and advanced through two rounds of the playoffs before they succumbed to the season ending defeat tonight. This team of young bucks may be back again.

I can only paraphrase the words of the poet Ernest Lawrence Thayer at this point:

Oh somewhere in this favoured land, the moon is shining bright.
And New Yorkers spray champagne, because they have that right.
While there is no joy in Cubville, they made too many outs.
The time is coming soon, when we all can scream and shout.
Hey Hey, Holy Cow.
We’ve finally won it now.

Until then, it’s wait until next year again.

Thanks for the ride, Cubs. It was fun watching baseball in Chicago in October. Let’s make this a habit.

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Source: Very Superstitious

IMG_1608The sports world is rife with superstitions. The game of baseball is no exception.

I read an article on espn.com from September 14, 2013 which spoke to the subject. Some players prefer to hide behind the “superstition” label by calling certain “quirks” a part of their ”routine.”

Here are just a few quirks, or you may just prefer to sing along with Stevie Wonder and call these routines, “very superstitious.”

One relief pitcher carries a poker chip in his back pocket.

A starting pitcher listens to the entire soundtrack of “Rocky” before each game he starts.

A designated hitter chews fours pieces of sugarless bubble gum, then spits it out and swats the gum with his hand towards the field.

There’s a pitcher who wore the same undershirt for three years, holes and all after a while. (We can only hope it was washed in between.),

There’s a whole lot of food superstitions. One of the most interesting was a relief pitcher who preferred to nap in the early innings of a game, then be woken up with a cheeseburger in the 5th inning.

There’s a starting pitcher who must brush his teeth right before every game he starts. In one game he got shelled in the first inning. When he got lifted from the game he walked to the dugout saying to himself, “Man, I forgot to brush my teeth.”

The classic baseball movie “Bull Durham” alludes to such superstitions in several scenes. One of my favorites is a conference on the pitcher’s mound. Amongst other things, Crash Davis tells them their first baseman needs a live rooster to take the curse off the first baseman’s glove. Take a look:

I don’t necessarily believe in superstition. However, last week Wedwand wrote about the Chicago Cubs winning the wild card game in this year’s playoffs.

And wouldn’t you know it, just yesterday, the Cubs won the next round of the playoffs eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Divisional Series (NLDS) to advance to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) at Wrigley Field.

So you realize how significant an accomplishment this was, the Cubs have never won a playoff series at home since the grand old ballpark was built in 1914.

Just in case, I decided to mention the Cubs again in this week’s entry.

In 1989, when the Cubs hosted their 2nd NLCS, Vin Scully began the pre-game with this vignette called an Ode To Wrigley Field:

She stands alone at the corner of Clark and Addison, this dowager queen, dressed in basic black and pearls, 75 years old, head held high, and not a hair out of place awaiting yet another date with destiny, another time for Mr. Right. She dreams as old ladies will of men gone long ago, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance. And those of recent vintage like her man Ernie and the Lion (Leo Durocher) and Sweet Billy Williams. And she thinks wistfully of what might have been, and the pain is still fresh and new and her eyes fill, her lips tremble and her head shakes ever so slightly. And then she sighs, pulls her shawl tightly around her frail shoulders and thinks, this time, this time, it will be better.

For the inspiration of the piece, Vin comments:

“To me there’s always been something special about Wrigley Field. I refer to the ballpark as the dowager queen of the National League. I refer to the lights as a lady in black in evening, wearing pearls. Every time I come to this ballpark, I seem to feel and see another image, and, above all, the enthusiasm of the crowd. It’s just a very special place.” -Vin Scully

Here’s Scully’s narration:

26 years later, in 2015, that dowager queen is considering shopping for a new dress to replace the black one.

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